Bogotà (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of Colombia, "for the good of our country", call for dialogue, reconciliation and integral development, in order to promote extraordinary days of prayer and intercession in parishes and ecclesial communities. The mobilization of the Colombian people against the government of Iván Duque in fact continues. In addition to the broad participation in the general strike on November 21 (see Fides 15/11/2019), protests, clashes and roadblocks, looting and vandalism have been reported in various parts of Colombia, which caused the intervention of soldiers and police, which led to several hundred arrests.
The document of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, sent to Agenzia Fides, is divided into 8 points and is dated 26 November 2019. Firstly, it recognizes "the deep desire of the Colombian people to put an end to the problems that have plagued the nation for many years and proceed, in a democratic way, towards social stability and justice". Therefore the Bishops reiterate the clear refusal "for all forms of violence and incitement to chaos", such as vandalism, looting, terrorism through social media, and above all "attacks against the life and property of the civil population and those who are at the service of the state". They therefore renew the exhortation to leave violence aside, since "it is not a question of destroying what we have, but of building what we lack".
The Bishops are worried because "the origins and perspectives of the recent city mobilizations are not always clear", which instead appear to be subject to political manipulation. They welcome and support the proposal for "national dialogue for the research and collaboration of concrete initiatives that will soon lead to reconciliation, the strengthening of social action and integral development for all: we must persevere on this path to achieve authentic peace".
The Catholic Church, in accordance with its mission, "is willing to encourage and participate in this dialogue in all regions of the country". This moment requires the elaboration of a common project of the country, for which the Bishops call everyone to take on this responsibility, leaving aside party or individual interests, since "the solution is not in the hands of a person or a group, but of all Colombians". If peace comes from new hearts - they reiterate - an ethical formation of people is needed and to live those values that are the foundation of social coexistence.
In the last point of their message, the Colombian Bishops call on Catholics to "persevere in prayer, to overcome this difficult moment we are experiencing and to encourage everything that leads us to reconciliation". (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides, 27/11/2019)